Launching a report showing a record high deployment of onshore wind in the UK in 2017, industry body RenewableUK has warned that the future growth of the industry and investment in new infrastructure is at risk without a change in government policy.
In 2017 a record 2611 MW of onshore wind came online in the UK – over 20% of all onshore wind capacity in the UK. The new capacity was overwhelmingly installed outside of England, with 1673 MW in Scotland, 356 MW in Wales and 247 MW in Northern Ireland.
This new capacity represents an investment value of £5.3bn retained in the UK. Of this, 87% (£4.7bn) of this was spent in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
However, the government¹s policy of blocking onshore wind from competing for new power contracts, (“contracts for difference”), means that the industry faces a steep drop off in new investment and new capacity coming online.
Onshore wind is the lowest cost option for new power in the UK, with a recent economic analysis from BVG Associates showing that contracts for new onshore wind would provide a payback to consumers of over £1.6bn.
Commenting on the report, RenewableUK¹s executive director Emma Pinchbeck said: ? ?”By excluding onshore wind from the market, the government is putting at risk billions of pounds of new investment annually across the UK and making it more expensive to meet its own climate change targets”.